The Supreme Court of Canada constitutionalized the open court principle under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its groundbreaking ruling in Edmonton Journal (1989). The Court’s holding was premised on three propositions: (1) the courts play an important role in our democratic society; (2) freedom of expression protects listeners as well as speakers; and (3) most individuals are dependent on the press to learn of what is transpiring in the courts. Taken together, these propositions suggested a broad conception of section 2(b) that could act as the primary guarantor of transparency in our democracy, not just within the courthouse but beyond. In 2010, however, the Supreme Court decided three cases that together rejected this vision. This paper reviews these three decisions and examines the manner in which they reined in the robust conception of section 2(b) that once seemed within reach.
"Transparency Confined to the Courthouse: A Critical Analysis of Criminal Lawyer's Assn., C.B.C. and National Post."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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